People immigrate to America for lots of reasons. OREGON ART BEAT found three artists who came to Oregon from other countries, not seeking fame and fortune, but the opportunity to fully express themselves as artists. They share the revealing stories of their journeys on Thursday, May 24 at 8pm on the stations of OPB TV.

Wang Gongyi – Wang Gongyi was born at the time of China’s communist revolution, but her family’s bourgeois background put her on the wrong side of the movement and delayed her college education until she was in her 30s. In the late ‘80s, her devotion to art paid off when she was recognized as one of China’s top artists and sent to France for further study. Wang later immigrated to the United States and has made her home in Portland for more than a decade, where she teaches art privately and “plays” at painting and print-making.

Farooq Hassan – Once a national treasure of Iraq, this painter fled his homeland and started anew as an unknown in the U.S. He left a lifetime of artwork and his fame when he fled the war in his country. Now in Beaverton, Hassan has started all over to rebuild his standing as an artist.

Edna Vazquez – Getting notice from indie bands and Spanish language television alike, the 33-year-old native of the Mexican state of Jalisco now calls Portland home. She uses her incredible voice to create a female take on mariachi – a tradition-bound genre dominated almost entirely by men – as well as eloquent love songs that she plays on her acoustic guitar.

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A great place to keep up with ART BEAT is on Facebook ( And there’s more arts coverage on OPB’s Arts & Life page (, where new stories on the arts appear daily.


OREGON ART BEAT, Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Emmy-Award winning local arts series, is in its 13th season. ART BEAT profiles Northwest artists, musicians and artisans — from an operatic baritone to a bit-and-spur craftsman to everything in between. The program airs Thursdays at 8pm and Sundays at 1am and 6pm. In the Mountain Time Zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9pm Thursdays and repeats at 7pm on Sundays. Funding for OREGON ART BEAT is provided in part by James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation and the Kinsman Foundation. More information is available online at

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